Request to Examine the Implementation
of the 2006 University Senate Report on Course Syllabi
Submitted by Candice Greaux, New Brunswick Student Representative to the Senate Executive Committee
November 5, 2008
            In October of 2006, the University Senate Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee issued a report addressing the issue of the availability of course syllabi, which called for the syllabi of courses to be made available to students by the meeting of the first class date.
            To date, the recommendations of this report have yet to be fully implemented. To that effect, in the spring of 2008 the Rutgers University Student Assembly passed a resolution reiterating the key points of the 2006 report, calling for the recommendations of the report to be fully implemented. Additionally, the resolution called upon Academic Department Chairs as well as the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs to utilize their positions in an effort to make course syllabi more readily available and easily accessible to students in a reasonably timely manner.
            This proposal will charge the University Senate Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee to examine the implementation of their 2006 report on the availability of course syllabi. Additionally, the committee should be charged with the duty of examining feasible options for ensuring that course expectations are made available to all prospective students within a reasonable time frame prior to the beginning of classes, ideally during the registration period. Examine different online interfaces that can be used to post course syllabi and consider the centralization of posting course syllabi, on the registration website, for example.
Issues to Consider:
            Though recommendations were passed by the University Senate in 2006, a widespread interest in the issue exists both amongst students as well as within the administration of the University with regard to this issue. The availability of course syllabi prior to the first day of classes may result in less dropping and adding of courses, which manifest in less dropping and adding of classes, and less logistical difficulties resulting therein. Additionally, the sooner course syllabi are made available to students, the sooner bookstores can order materials, increasing their chances of being able to get used items and reducing costs.
Final Comments:
            The recommendations of the 2006 report have been implemented to some extent; however there are still improvements and modifications that need to be made. In recent years, the University has greatly expanded their utilization of web-based interfaces as academic tools, and that expansion should lend itself to be compatible with the goals set forth by the 2006 recommendations issued by the University Senate Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee.